Filoni on CW CGI canon and EU

I don't know how the guy asked the question if he can't spell the word, but nonetheless here's the GenreOnline.Net interview with Dave Filoni, in which the interviewer inquires about the canon status of the CGI series:

Rivera: Fine thank you. I have a question with regard to the storyline and with regard to the new series and the previous series. I noticed while looking through the press materials as well as some of the episodes that there have been some slight changes and I’d like to know is this new series considered cannon for Star Wars fans or is it more expanded universe and does it counteract the previous series or does the previous series still count or is it open to whatever you and George decide?

Filoni: You know one of the biggest debates in Star Wars is what counts? You know the idea of what is cannon and you know when I talked to George, I know George always considers his movies cannon yet as a fan I bring him a lot of information that is expanded universe and I get that information to see how he wants me to use it or review it. There is never an implicit connection between the micro-series Cartoon Network did previously and the series we’re doing now, but I’ll try and add little touches and things that I know the fans, who are well versed in that expanded universe will know and understand that this event is taking place kind of along side this. We’re trying to make what we can from the expanded universe really jell and I certainly never think of it as discrediting any of the other material. It’s just that you know, “it’s from a different point of view” and a different look at the war and take on the war. It’s an ever-expanding universe in a lot of ways.

Take it as you will. The basic idea I get from it, in concert with what Lucas has said, is that the series is canon, but will have as many nods to the EU as the EU-philes making it can get George to accept and use. Filoni in the last part seems to suggest that he considers it a sort of third way between the film canon and EU, but that's not the impression I've gotten from the statements of Lucas.

The getting-George-to-allow-EU-stuff scenario isn't terribly different than the scenario with the RotS novelization, so we'll see how it goes. So far, so good.

(Hat tip: TheForce.Net)


Orci & Kurtzman

I haven't covered much about the writers of the JJ Abrams flick and their statements on canon (something to be corrected later), but I couldn't resist tossing this one out there:

Alex Kurtzman: We did a lot of reading of the books. I think we consider the books canon to a large degree so it’s very important to us to stay consistent.

Go have fun with that in your own heads. I'll share my thoughts on it at a later time.


Canon Just for Writers? No.

Another recent discussion on Trek canon featured a re-iteration of an old line I'd seen before from the anti-canon crowd.

No, 'canon' is what writers in the series have to adhere to when expanding on the official fiction. 'Canon' was never something for the fandom.

This, of course, is fallacy, based on the unfortunate myriad denotations of the term "canon", its confusions with denotations of "continuity", and so on.

However, the easiest way to note the fallacy is to consider the Biblical example. All the major Christian groups have a canon, be it the Catholic canon or the usual Protestant canon or any others that have existed over time (including or excluding Apocryphal works as seen fit).

By definition, this canon is by the 'fans', and regarding material that is not being added to, which precisely contradicts the notion that canon is only for the writers.

Of all the various books, letters, and other writings of the time referencing Jesus, only some have been recognized as New Testament canon, or official Jesus facts. Various stories from the Apocrypha, such as the "infancy gospels" of Jesus raising magical hell as a child, are not counted, though some may have read them and believe them in their "personal canon", or even go off and form a new sect or whatever on the grounds that they want their personal canon to be considered the objective truth for all.

Similarly, many fans and fan groups try to either find out from the makers what counts, or else create their own idea of such. As I said to the anti-canon guys:

And do you really think that there would be any improvement if there was no canon for people to fall back on? It would serve as an end to discussion. There are posters here at TrekBBS who reject much of the live-action Trek we've seen. How could you possibly have a thoughtful discussion with someone about, say, the Borg when you get some guy saying "well, I don't think they exist" or "they never came to the Federation, because I reject everything after "Q Who?"" or even "well, in my fanfic I established . . . "?

This is the very reason that religious groups, Sherlock Holmes fans, and a whole lot of other fan groups and producers thereof trouble themselves to make canon policies to begin with. (The idea even appears in soap opera fan pages . . . a group more likely to be female than the male-centric list above.)

Now I agree that the idea of a canon policy . . . itself a uniting influence . . . can be taken too far when people seem bent on meddling with one's personal canon. However, I'm not attempting to meddle with your personal choices about what you want to accept. My purpose with the canon page and with my messages in this thread has been to clarify what that third-party uniting influence actually says we're uniting towards.

That's the canon for fans, and when fan relations talks about canon to the fans (whether it's Steve Sansweet, George Lucas in interviews, Star Trek guys in interviews, or StarTrek.com), that's precisely what they're supporting.

A canon policy isn't just something for writers, though the writers have one (as do different writing groups, such as show-writers versus licensed novel writers). A canon policy is the objective basis of discussion for all the fans.

Why Rank and Company Matter

Although I thought this obvious, I was reminded recently of the sort of confusion that people have if they fail to acknowledge proper rank and company information. A conversation on an EU Completist and Star-Trek-hate web board featured a conversation on Trek canon.

The opening post of the thread (titled "Possible canon change for Star Trek?") features old quotes from Harry Lang that the poster had just located. Harry Lang is said to be "Senior Director at Viacom Interactive (part of the company that took over Paramount)". The poster says he's not entirely sure what to make of it, but considers it significant nonetheless.

This isn't quite right. Viacom Interactive didn't take Paramount . . . Viacom Interactive (if that's even the proper company title) was a division of Viacom Consumer Products, which at the time of the quote in 2005 was simply the licensing arm of Viacom. The Interactive group oversaw licensing related to computer game and similar content, in the same way that Paula Block's Licensed Publishing oversaw licensing of printed works.

Put another way, at the time you had Viacom, its Viacom Entertainment Group, its subsidiary Paramount Communications
, and then Paramount Television that actually made Trek on TV around that time or Paramount Pictures for movie-making. That ends up looking like this:

VEG -> PaC -> PaT

But the canon-confusion crowd hears "Viacom" and gets excited, despite the fact that they've ended up on the tail end of another chain altogether:

VEG -> VCP -> VCP (Int.)

Supposing I picked from the air some of the other 900 or so Viacom subsidiaries with Viacom in the name. Let's say I found some senior-titled person in, say, Viacom Outdoor Advertising Limited, which may or may not have had anything to do with Trek posters or film banners or whatever, and this guy made a statement on canon.

Do we care? Not especially, no.

Of course, despite their familiarity with my work, none of the people in that thread chose to check to see if I already had those quotes or the explanation thereon. As such, there were serious posts seriously considering what this meant for the Trek canon policy . . . today! They didn't even seem to know of the Viacom split that changes the whole ballgame.

(They could've been really on the ball by beating me to all the quotes from the Star Trek movie production team on canon that I haven't really messed with. They don't appear to change much that I've seen, but there's a mass of them I have to update the Trek canon pages with.)

A final entertaining note is that my 'biggest fan' on that board who seeks disagreement with me as a matter of principle declares that "
I got sick of all the wrangling over "correct canon policy" a long time ago." Given that in every case where he's made a stand on canon for either Star Trek or Star Wars he's ended up on the wrong side, it's little wonder that he's surrendered the fight.

Trying to mish-mash quotes by producers, janitors, and everyone in-between into a coherent understanding of canon policy is what produces all that "wrangling". All it takes to cut through the confusion is to consider things on the basis of rank, with its subsidiary value of company. Once that's done, you're all set.